When we launched Tablet, we thought there was a finite supply of unique and extraordinary hotels, but it turns out they’re a renewable resource. Below you’ll find the ten that caught our eye among Europe’s most recent vintage.
1898 The Post
From a glance at the exterior you’d wonder if 1898 The Post might be a Medieval relic, but Ghent’s old central post office is 19th-century Neo-Gothic — and inside, it’s a wonderfully atmospheric but thoroughly contemporary boutique hotel.
Oddly enough, the Royal Bavarian is another repurposed post office, this one the work of Germany’s most playful hotel group, located in Germany’s most livable big city. It’s got eclectic, ironic style for days, and the same casual charm we’ve come to expect from 25hours.
It’s a luxury boutique hotel devoted to a single chef; just west of San Sebastián is where you’ll find Akelarre, a stunning piece of modern architecture which adds 22 luxurious hotel rooms and a full-service spa to Pedro Subijana’s legendary restaurant.
Every room and suite at Borgo Canonica occupies a stone structure with a distinctive conical roof, and in typical Italian boutique-hotel style they freely combine modern fixtures and furnishings with their centuries-old backdrop.
Fresh off a huge renovation, the legendary Hôtel de Crillon has been born again, and it hasn’t lost one iota of old-fashioned opulence, thanks to an all-star team of architects, creative directors, and interior designers, up to and including Karl Lagerfeld himself.
Lake Como isn’t all about Renaissance villas — Il Sereno is a modern marvel both inside and out, with interiors by the celebrated Milan-based designer Patricia Urquiola and a vast collection of of art and design crafted right here in northern Italy..
Behind the stately façade of what was once the Royal Danish Conservatory of Music is now, thanks to the Swedish architect Gert Wingårdh, an impressive showcase of Scandinavian modernist design — and modern Danish luxury hospitality.
As transformations go it’s hard to beat Sir Adam’s metamorphosis from a Shell office building into a rock-and-roll boutique hotel, complete with post-industrial interiors and a Gibson guitar and a Crosley turntable in each of its 108 rooms.
Some of London’s luxury boutique hotels are so tasteful they’re almost invisible. And then there’s the Mandrake. It’s nothing short of a fantasy world, a moody, atmospheric 34-room boutique hotel surrounding a central courtyard full of hanging jasmine and passionflower.
Villa La Coste begins with a 17th-century farmhouse surrounded by rambling stone buildings, but it’s the contemporary additions by architects like Frank Gehry, Oscar Niemeyer, and Tadao Ando that set it apart from the ordinary bastide hotel.